More alcoholics than ever before checking into rehab during first four months of Covid crisis
Between 1st April and 1 August, a staggering 79% of all admissions into the seven UK Addiction Treatment (UKAT) facilities were for alcohol addiction, compared to just 56% of admissions during 2017.
During first four months of the pandemic, overall admissions into the UKAT facilities were lower than they were in the same four month period in 2019, yet the percentage of those who did check into rehab for alcohol addiction still outweighed the percentage admitted for alcohol addiction last year.
Between 1 April 2019 and 1 August 2019, UKAT admitted 982 clients into treatment, of which 720 were for alcohol addiction (73%). In the same four months this year, UKAT has admitted fewer clients overall (828) but the percentage of those admitted for alcohol has risen since last year to 79% (652).
UKAT's group head of treatment, Nuno Albuquerque, said: "The coronavirus crisis has affected people in different ways. For some, a way of coping with the pandemic would have been to turn to alcohol, or to drink more alcohol than they did previously in order to feel calm about the unfolding situation happening across the world.
'Worry, loneliness, fear'
"But it's important to remember that alcohol is a depressant and regular, heavy drinking interferes with chemicals in the brain that are key for good mental health. Feeling relaxed after a drink is short-lived, whereas over time, alcohol can have an impact on your mental health and can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety and worse still, it actually makes stressful situations like the Covid-crisis harder to deal with."
UKAT added that increased consumption during the pandemic had also led to higher alcohol-related fatalities, while being in lockdown and being isolated can contribute to people developing unhealthy relationships with alcohol.
Albuquerque added: "The last few months have forced people into isolation and to contemplate their lives. For some, drinking heavily was a way of suppressing feelings of worry, loneliness and fear, but for others, it was a time to reflect and to ask themselves if continuing to drink was the right thing for them. Thankfully, those people decided that enough was enough, and we're seeing more and more people take that first brave step in investing in their health in order to protect their future, and asking for help with their alcohol addiction."
UKAT runs residential rehabilitation treatment facilities in Bradford, Runcorn, Luton, Essex, Guildford, Banbury and Worthing.
Due to complete 1 January 2021
Until end of October
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